Elections to Diocesan Synod 2021
Elections to the Southwark Diocesan Synod will be required to be undertaken this year. A notification has been sent to all Deanery Secretaries, Area Deans and Deanery Lay Chairs. Elections must be completed by 15 July by the Deaneries and the results of the election sent to the Diocesan Secretary by no later than 1 August 2021.
The Diocesan Synod has agreed that, for each deanery, the Lay Chair shall be the Presiding Officer for the House of Clergy and the Area Dean for the House of Laity. This will avoid complication should the Area Dean or Lay Chair wish to stand in the election.
Deanery Synod members form the electorate (except for co-opted members who are unable to vote) for these elections but nominations can come from those who are not on Deanery Synod, subject to the Church Representation Rules’ guidance on those wishing to stand must be nominated and seconded.
A leaflet to encourage membership has been sent to all deaneries and parishes and a copy can be downloaded here.
Details about how to conduct the elections can be found in the DIocesan Secretary’s letter below, as can the neccessary forms.
What is Diocesan Synod
Diocesan Synod is our primary elected, representative body and brings people together across the Diocese. It holds the Diocesan Vision, drives mission, sets strategy, elects and appoints a range of positions on boards and committees and shapes priorities. It is also asked to approve the Diocesan budget presented to it by the Diocesan Board of Finance (DCT).
It may respond to questions put to it by the General Synod and is an advisory and deliberative body. It considers the important topics facing ourdiverse and unique Diocese and the wider Church.
It is a statutory institution which serves not only our Diocese but influences and helps to direct the National Church on matters of Church, public and Government policy. It also includes some mandatory governance items such as approval of the budget and the annual accounts.
The membership consists of three Houses: the House of Bishops; the House of Clergy; and the House of Laity. They come together to lead the Diocese, enable mission and serve the people of God.
The number of clergy and lay members in Diocesan Synod are broadly equal.
The agenda for 2021-2024
Diocesan Synod members will be elected in the summer of 2021 and serve a term of three years. Meetings are held in March, July and November.
Themes for the next three years will include support to parishes, clergy and lay leaders in a post-COVID world; further development of lay leadership and lay ministry and taking forward the Growing Faith initiative in relation to schools and families; a continuing focus on growth in numbers and depth of discipleship, including new Christians, Fresh Expressions of Church and new worshipping communities; an ongoing focus on safeguarding and diversity as priorities, including an anti-racism charter; and a commitment to social justice and the environment, in particular the move towards becoming an Eco Diocese.
What skills do representatives need?
Diocesan Synods exist to serve the mission of the wider Church, to make strategic decisions, and to encourage the growth of mission and ministry in our Diocese. It is important that Diocesan Synod, as any representative body, broadly reflects the diversity of all our church members in gender, ethnic origin, age, experience and church tradition, and we welcome and encourage membership across all these groups.
We also need people to stand who have:
- Vision: Do you have a vision for a flourishing Church and a passion to work with others to share your Christian faith and deepen the discipleship of those around you?
- Commitment: Are you ready to seek God’s will through prayer
and theological reflection, with a heart for growth, mission and engagement across boundaries?
- Openness: Are you open to trying new approaches while learning from others, embracing change and the bigger picture and to sharing inspiring feedback with your deanery, PCC and wider church family?
- Enthusiasm: Members of Synod are encouraged to speak and challenge confidently, enabling change whilst leading and encouraging others.
- Good communication: Do you have a listening ear? Are you receptive and open-minded and do you have the ability to share your passion? Members of Synod are ambassadors, both amongst themselves and asa bridge between the Diocese and the parishes.